Missouri Coalition for the Environment Demands EPA Enforce the Clean Water Act

Date: November 9, 2015

Example lake: Long Branch Lake, Macon, MO, Photo credit: MCE


  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri  Coalition for the Environment, alloyd [at] moenviron [dot] org,  (314) 727-0600 x12
  • Elizabeth Hubertz, Attorney, Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, (314) 935-8760

St. Louis, MO: It has been four years since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) rejected Missouri’s proposed nutrient standards for lakes, and neither the State of Missouri nor US EPA has taken action to promulgate new, effective standards. Friday, in order to remedy this failure, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) sent a Notice of Intent to File Suit (NOI) to US EPA, alleging violation of US EPA’s mandatory duty to issue effective standards when the state does not take action on its own.  

Nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, are among the biggest contributors to fish kills and algal blooms throughout Missouri and the nation. Nutrients contribute to the massive Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, which now spans over 6,400 square miles.

In 2009, Missouri proposed water quality standards that would have placed numeric limits on the amount of nutrients in Missouri’s lakes. However, in August 2011, US EPA rejected most of these standards, noting that the methods proposed by Missouri were not based on a sound scientific rationale and that Missouri had failed to demonstrate that the proposed standards would protect the waters for fishing and recreation.

Once US EPA disapproves a standard, Missouri has 90 days to correct the deficiencies. If Missouri doesn’t take action, US EPA must issue its own rules. But neither Missouri nor EPA has taken any concrete action and as of today, Missouri does not have nutrient standards for nearly all of its lakes.

“We want to see the protections of the Clean Water Act implemented in Missouri. The state had 90 days in 2011 to address nutrient pollution and here we are in 2015 without adequate, legal protections regulating the nutrient pollution entering our waterways,” said MCE Water Policy Coordinator, Alicia Lloyd.  

The federal Clean Water Act delegates to states the responsibility to assess the function of lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands and then to develop appropriate water quality standards to support those uses so they may supply communities with clean drinking water and maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems in our nation’s waters. While the enactment of the CWA in 1972 led to great strides in improving water quality, Missouri has yet to fully implement the law within its borders.

Although President Obama’s Clean Water Rule has captured public attention, it has little to do with these nutrient standards. They will apply to lakes that are already accepted by Missouri as waters of the U.S.  “This is a straightforward case. Neither the state nor the national government has developed acceptable water quality standards for nutrients in Missouri for lakes and other water bodies as required by the federal Clean Water Act. Doing so would be a great step towards thorough protections of our abundant and irreplaceable water resources in Missouri” said Lloyd.

Once an NOI is filed, the responding party has 60 days to respond before a lawsuit can be filed. In this case, MCE can file suit as soon as January 5th.

MCE is represented by the Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic. 


MCE Honors Environmental Heroes at Grassroots Gala


Date:  October 12, 2015

Contact:  Heather B. Navarro, Executive Director


Missouri Coalition for the Environment will celebrate its Grassroots Gala “From Street to Skyline” on Friday, October 23rd at 6:30pm at Rooster on South Grand Boulevard with drinks and desserts following on the Dickmann Building Rooftop, home of MCE headquarters.

The Grassroots Gala celebrates MCE’s 46-year history of protecting and restoring the environment. The gala will feature a special presentation by local author Dean Klinkenberg entitled “The Mississippi River in Song: Floods and Monsters.” Klinkenberg  is on a mission to explore the rich history and diverse cultures of the Mississippi River Valley, from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.  His talks often sample from songs about the river to help illustrate the varied ways to relate to the Mississippi. He is the author of the Frank Dodge series of mysteries and the Mississippi Valley Traveler guidebooks; he also maintains a guide to the towns of the Mississippi River Valley at www.MississippiValleyTraveler.com

The evening’s awards ceremony will be emceed by Veronique LaCapra, KWMU Science Reporter. Her reports on science research, environment, health, and other topics are heard on stations across Missouri and Illinois, and nationally on NPR. 

MCE will present the Kay and Leo Drey Environmental Stewardship Award to Bill Davit, Naturalist and Prairie Restorationist for his work developing the Shaw Nature Reserve and the Litzinger Road Ecology Center prairies. The Barry Commoner Science in Environmental Service Award will be presented to Susan Nagel, PhD at the University of Missouri School of Medicine for her groundbreaking work in identifying the hazards of hydraulic fracking. The Susan Flader Education and Advocacy Award will be presented to Joe Pitts of the James River Basin Partnership, serving southwest Missouri, for his leadership in environmental education and advocacy on behalf of Missouri’s rivers.

The gala is sponsored by Kay Drey, Wayne and Jane Goode, Laura Cohen, Alice Geary Sgroi, Nicholas Kappas, Larry O’Reilly, Al Van Amburg and Jane Matoesian,  USAgain, O’Reilly Auto Parts and the Healthy Planet.

Rooster is a member of the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance and is located at 3150 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63118. The Dickmann Building is located across the street at 3115 South Grand. Tickets are $100 apiece and can be purchased by visiting the MCE website, www.moenvironment.org/gala or calling the office at 314.727.0600 x. 15. All proceeds benefit the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, working to protect and restore Missouri’s environment.


Worlds of Fun Polluting Missouri River

Date: September 17, 2015


  • Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator, Missouri Coalition for the Environment
    (314) 727-0600 x. 12, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Bob Menees, Attorney, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
    (314) 231-4181, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Lia Comerford,  Staff Attorney, Earthrise Law Center
    (503)768-6823This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Environmental Group Reveals Worlds of Fun is Polluting the Missouri River


Kansas City, MO: The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) has sent a Notice of Intent to File Suit to Cedar Fair and its subsidiaries for significant and persistent violations of the Clean Water Act at Worlds of Fun, an amusement park in Kansas City. Through documents obtained from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), MCE has discovered that over the past five years, Worlds of Fun has violated the terms of its federal pollution discharge permit in at least 58 of the past 60 months. These violations include at least 159 exceedances of limits for five pollutants. The pollution created by the facility flows into two tributaries of the Missouri River, including Shoal Creek.


“The Missouri River is one of the greatest resources this State has, serving as the largest source of drinking water for Missourians,” said Alicia Lloyd, Clean Water Policy Coordinator for MCE. “There is no excuse for a facility of this size to be cutting corners at the expense of the communities who depend on the River,” she continued. MCE is a statewide environmental organization founded in 1969 to protect and restore the environment.


Specifically, the letter details exceedances of permit limits for chlorine, oil and grease, copper, pH, and total suspended solids from the facility. In addition, Worlds of Fun has been illegally discharging blue dye in violation of its permit and has been failing to adequately monitor and report its pollution discharges. MCE is represented by Great Rivers Environmental Law Center and Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Law School. Bob Menees, an attorney with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center representing MCE, said “The facility was given three years to meet the final requirements in its permit, but it has made no improvements, including failing to construct sufficient wastewater treatment facilities to reduce the levels of copper and chlorine it discharges into the river.”


Worlds of Fun is a subsidiary of Cedar Fair, which operates 14 other parks nationwide, according to its website. Lia Comerford of Earthrise has worked with local groups to address water pollution violations at other facilities across the country, including other amusement parks. “While problems such as these are not uncommon, the duration of time that these problems have persisted is unusual and in flagrant violation of state and federal water rules.”


The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri.  Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love.  Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.


Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health.  Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.


Earthrise Law Center is the environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon




Radioactivity Found Offsite Near West Lake Landfill


Date: September 3, 2015

Contact: Ed Smith, (314) 727-0600, esmith [at] moenviron [dot] org  

Radioactivity Found Offsite Near West Lake Landfill

St. Louis, MO: Attorney General Chris Koster released expert reports today related to his lawsuit against Republic Services and its smoldering West Lake Landfill. Particularly concerning is the discovery of radioactive materials in offsite vegetation. The EPA found radioactive materials in previously unidentified areas when testing for the proposed isolation barrier last year, which makes this the second test in a year to find radioactivity in previously unidentified areas.

“This is the second time in the last year that radioactivity has been found in places that were supposedly clean,” said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “It further demonstrates the need for President Obama or our federally elected officials to put the Army Corps of Engineers in charge immediately so the site can be properly characterized and remediated in a timely manner,” he continued.

The reports also say the smoldering fire is beyond the barrier meant to contain the fire to the south quarry and moving in the direction of the radioactive materials. A Republic Services spokesperson told the Post-Dispatch, “This will be life for the next five years” regarding the odors and the smoldering fire and only in the context of the south quarry. That means at least 9 years of people living next to the smoldering landfill fire and likely longer should the smoldering fire move into the north quarry.

“It is past time for Republic Services or the government to provide a voluntary buyout for people living within a one mile radius of the landfill,” said Kathy Bell who is a nearby resident. “We are being choked to death at night and throughout the day by this nasty landfill and we cannot take it any longer, let alone five or more years,” she added.



Missouri Coalition for the Environment Urges County Executive and County Council to Save Sylvan Springs Park

For More Information Contact:

Heather Navarro, Executive Director                                  Kathleen Henry, President

Missouri Coalition for the Environment                              Great Rivers Environmental Law Center

3115 So. Grand Blvd.                                                                      319 No. Fourth St., Ste. 800

St. Louis, MO 63118                                                                        St. Louis, MO 63102

(314) 727-0600 ext. 10                                                                  (314) 231-4181

hnavarro [at] moenviron [dot] org                                          khenry [at] greatriverslaw [dot] org

www.moenvironment.org                                                            www.greatriverslaw.org

September 1, 2015

Missouri Coalition for the Environment Urges County Executive and County Council to Save Sylvan Springs Park

On behalf of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE), Great Rivers Environmental Law Center has written to County Executive Steve Stenger urging the County to save Sylvan Springs Park.  MCE’s letter follows Senator Claire McCaskill’s letter sent to County Executive Stenger last week urging him to sell off the property.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment has long been an active watchdog of County and state Parks and says this sale may be illegal as the County accepted the Park and used it as a Park for 65-years, investing millions of taxpayer funds dedicated to parks into the maintenance and improvement of the Park.

Furthermore, the use of this Park is not a long-term solution to the Veterans’ Affairs’ problem of running out of cemetery space, but it will take the Park from County residents forever.

This is not the first federal agency to try to take the Park.  In 1969, the Coast Guard attempted to buy 8 acres adjacent to it, but County Executive Larry Roos stood up for the citizens and County Parks and rebuffed the efforts, and the County bought those acres and made them part of Sylvan Springs Park.

“The County should recognize this is not a sustainable long-term plan and the federal government will come back for the rest of the park when it runs out of room next time,” said Heather Navarro, Executive Director of MCE.  “The County should preserve all of its parks as they are vital to our region.  Two-thirds of the 38-acres of Sylvan Springs Park proposed for sale are covered with large oak trees and other hardwood species, and some of those oaks are probably 200 years old.”

“The federal government sold the land to the County for use as a Park and the County accepted it and used it as a Park for 65-years,” said Kathleen Henry, President of Great Rivers.  “The County should not give it up now.”

Sylvan Springs Park was one of the first County Parks and has a rich history, including hosting performances by Judy Garland and Bob Hope in World War II.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) state-level conservation organization, is a force for clean air, clean water and clean energy in Missouri.  Since 1969 it has educated and activated Missourians to protect the land we all love.  Its web address is: www.moenvironment.org.

Great Rivers is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm in St. Louis that provides free and reduced-fee legal services to those working to protect the environment and public health.  Its web address is: www.greatriverslaw.org.


AG Koster & Federal Judge Delay Clean Water Rule Implementation in Missouri


Date: August 28, 2015

Contact: Heather Navarro, (314) 727-0600, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AG Koster & Federal Judge Delay Clean Water Rule Implementation in Missouri

St. Louis, MO: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its final Clean Water Protection Rule. The rule was meant to clarify ambiguity in the Clean Water Act that led to a significant amount of litigation. Yesterday, a federal judge in North Dakota granted a Preliminary Injunction to 13 states, including Missouri, seeking to block implementation of the final rule.

“Missouri has yet to meet the 1983 deadlines of the Clean Water Act” said Heather Navarro, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “We cannot afford further delay. This ruling denies protections to vital Missouri waters while allowing polluters to continue degrading the natural resources all of us downstream depend upon.”


Concern Grows About Smoldering Fire Moving Toward Radioactive Wastes at West Lake Landfill


Date: August 17, 2015

Contact: Ed Smith, (314) 727-0600, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Concern Grows About Smoldering Fire Moving Toward Radioactive Wastes at West Lake Landfill

St. Louis, MO: On August 10, 2015, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a letter to Republic Services that expressed great concern about the smoldering fire moving into the north quarry and closer to the radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in St. Louis County, Missouri.

The letter sent by DNR to Republic Services says, “Given the uncertainties regarding installation of an isolation barrier near the West Lake Landfill Area 1…the SWMP is requiring submittal of work plans and schedules for supplementary corrective measures…for review and approval by SWMP to ensure Bridgeton Landfill has immediately, implementable measures at hand. With installation of the expanded heat extraction pilot study which has yet to be proven, Bridgeton Landfill has no additional measures approved and immediately, implementable.”

“The only way to ensure the radioactive materials do not come in contact with a smoldering or surface fire at this landfill is to begin planning for the removal of the radioactive wastes,” said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “It’s past time for the state and federal government to remove Republic Services from the decision-making process so that the public interest is best served instead of a fiduciary duty to Republic shareholders like Bill Gates,” Mr. Smith added.

Another part of the DNR letter requires Republic Services remove reinforced concrete pipes (RCPs) in the North Quarry that could be allowing oxygen into the landfill and increasing the risk of an independent smoldering fire. Republic Services was required to remove RCPs in the South Quarry during the summer of 2013 and offered voluntary relocation to residents within one mile due to an anticipated increase in odors.

“We expect Republic Services to be the good corporate neighbor it claimed to be in 2013 and offer financial assistance for people near the landfill that want to relocate due to an increase in odors,” said Ed Smith.

A summary of the DNR letter to Republic Services is on the second page of this press release. A copy of the Republic Services relocation application from 2013 is also included as a separate attachment.  




The DNR letter to Republic Services includes the following important details:

  • The ‘Heat Extraction Pilot Study’ cooling line does not extend across the entire neck area, from quarry wall to quarry wall, which continues to allow an open pathway for potential progression of the subsurface smoldering fire (pg. 1-2).
  • Data reported by Bridgeton Landfill continues to show an area of concern in the Neck which seemingly is beyond the zone of influence of the Heat Extraction Pilot Study (pg. 2).
  • There are uncertainties regarding the installation of an isolation barrier near the West Lake Landfill Area 1 (pg. 6).  
  • DNR states there is no plan currently available or approved of to deter the smoldering fire from moving into the North Quarry (pg. 6).
  • The North Quarry contains unidentified materials that were accepted previous to landfill regulations. (pg. 6).
  • DNR requires Republic Services to have a corrective measure using inert gas injection or other available technology for “hot spot” treatment in the North Quarry to contain any independent fires that might be generated (pg. 6).
  • DNR requires Republic Services to complete connection of the previously drilled North Quarry gas extraction wells…to the gas collection and control system (pg. 6).
  • Reinforced concrete pipes (RCPs) in the south quarry allowed intrusion of oxygen and emission of landfill gases to ambient air thereby creating substantial odors and a public nuisance. RCPs in the North Quarry may be contributing to localized oxygen intrusion as these North Quarry RCPs have not been properly abandoned. Republic Services must prepare a work plan and schedule for the abandonment of the RCPs in the North Quarry (pg. 6-7).
  • DNR is concerned a smoldering fire is moving into the North Quarry because (pg. 7):
    • Recent submitted reports identify seven areas of the North Quarry where methane emissions were between 700-1,500 parts per million (ppm),
    • Department staff observed leachate outbreaks along the north slope of the North Quarry in three areas in June 2015, and
    • Department staff recorded visual observations that show the beginning of movement of waste materials from the “high” North Quarry to the “lower” neck area.
  • DNR requires that the cap must be enhanced to minimize oxygen intrusion into the underlying waste mass that may allow for increased risk of a new fire, capture of landfill gases that would otherwise be released as fugitive emissions including odors, prevention of leachate outbreaks that could contaminate ground and surface waters, and monitoring for uneven settlement in the waste mass requiring fill (pg. 7).
  • DNR requires that Republic Services place survey pins in the North Quarry and along the North Quarry’s slopes to monitor for any rapid waste reduction that could indicate the presence and/or movement of a subsurface smoldering fire in the North Quarry or the need for additional fill material for stabilization (pg. 7).
  • Enhancements of the North Quarry must be complete no later than December 1, 2015 (pg. 8).
  • With the reduction in available methane and hydrogen for combusting landfill gases, Republic Services will need to ensure Bridgeton Landfill complies with the requirements of the Clean Air Act, Missouri Clean Air Law, and Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and implementing regulations with regards to utilization of natural gas as a supplement fuel (pg. 8). 

Editorial: Corps of Engineers should FUSRAP-up West Lake's toxic waste

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

August 9, 2015 

The best solution for cleaning up radioactive waste buried at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton is to give control of the site to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The corps runs the tongue-twistingly named Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP), which controls every other site in St. Louis County that is contaminated with nuclear waste. The radioactive waste in Bridgeton came from another location that is now a FUSRAP site.

At those other sites, the Corps has either cleaned up the waste or is in the process of doing it. Some of the waste at those sites was the waste that has been at West Lake, which became a dump site in the 1950s. Radioactive materials, created as a byproduct of projects at Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, were dumped in a 200-acre hole there beginning in 1973.

Four years after that, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigated the site and published a report. TheEnvironmental Protection Agency designated West Lake as a Superfund site in 1990, making it eligible for special federal funding to clean up the nation’s most hazardous waste sites.

The EPA has had control of the site for 25 years, but nothing has been removed. Not far away, another part of the landfill is burning. Euphemistically, the below-ground fire is called an SSE, a “subsurface smoldering event,” by the EPA and Republic Services, the Phoenix-based waste hauler that owns the site. In the presence of oxygen, the SSE would become a fire.


Should the burn reach the radioactive material, bad things would happen. The EPA says that’s unlikely, as “all current data suggest the SSE remains distant from the areas containing known RIM (radiologically impacted material).” We must hope the EPA is more accurate than it is fast-acting.

The EPA has killed a lot of trees ordering study after study of the contaminated landfill and explaining why gathering data and performing evaluations is better than taking action. Activists have speculated that maintaining the Superfund site provides job security for EPA bureaucrats in Region 7 (headquartered in Kansas City and overseeing four Midwest states).

The corps FUSRAP program often digs up and disposes of waste at sites it controls. The prospect that it would do that at West Lake raises both hope and concern. Hope, because it would be a final remedy. It would end such environmental worries as radioactive runoff seeping into groundwater and escaping radon and radium gases, the daughter products from uranium decay, which can cause cancer if inhaled or ingested.

Concern, because no matter how precise and careful an excavation may be, it will cause corollary problems.

The primary problem is expense. The budget for all FUSRAP sites around the country is in the neighborhood of $100 million, and there already are other projects waiting to be put on the FUSRAP agenda. Getting West Lake onto the agenda and funded could take years, with the eventual solution even further off.

Corps spokesman Mike Petersen told the Post-Dispatch’s Jacob Barker this month that the agency is “not funded for a project of that scope.”

St. Louis-area members of Congress have been pushing for the FUSRAP solution. The situation got more complicated recently when the Chicago-based Exelon Corp., one of the parties potentially liable for cleanup at the site, said it had documents indicating it may not be liable for all of the waste and asked for more testing to determine the extent of its responsibility.

That prompted the St. Louis-area congressional delegation to call for a new review of whether the site can be moved from EPA control to the Corps. Members of the delegation told Mr. Barker that their understanding is that West Lake isn’t already under FUSRAP because a private contractor (for a former subsidiary of Exelon) contaminated the site, not the government.

It gets more complicated: According to a letter the delegationsent to the Department of Energy, which used to run FUSRAP and had liability for early nuclear weapons activities, the DOE may have had jurisdiction over the material Exelon says it may not be liable for.

Republic Services has opposed moving control of the site to the Corps. “Transferring control of the site to (the Corps) at this point would delay the remedial action and is unnecessary,” Richard Callow, a spokesman for Republic, told Mr. Barker in an email.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who is suing Republic for the burning portion of the Bridgeton Landfill and has been critical of the EPA’s actions at West Lake, likened changing agencies to “getting trapped in a federal bureaucratic Rube Goldberg machine.”

As the smoldering potato of liability and responsibility is being tossed around among corporate, federal and state officials, area residents and environmental activists remain frustrated.

Kay Drey, a longtime anti-nuclear activist, says it’s clear to her that the radioactive materials — which she says are some of the most toxic known to mankind — must be excavated and the site cleaned. It’s long past time for that to have been done, she says.

Dawn Chapman, a nearby resident who has been active in seeking removal of the waste, says that after 25 years of waiting for the EPA to do something, she is skeptical that the agency will deliver on its promise of proposing a remedy by January 2017.

She’s right. Twenty-five years is long enough. The federal government should step up and rid this corner of St. Louis of a festering and potentially dangerous problem. Send the bills out later. The Corps of Engineers should FUSRAP it up and get rid of it.

NRC Delays Callaway Nuclear License Extension

NRC Delays Callaway Nuclear License Extension 

On December 10, 2014, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission delayed the licnese extension of Ameren Missouri's Callaway 1 nuclear reactor. The temporary delay is a result of MCE's request for a hearing with the NRC. MCE appluads the NRC's decision not rush the license extension given the pending legality of its newly published Continued Storage rules for high level nuclear wastes, which will be determined by the US Court of Appeals in the near future while the current operating license for Callaway 1 does not expire until 2024. 

Callaway1 2

Representative Long Misses the Boat on Clean Water

Heather B. Navarro, Executive Director

Printed in the Springfield News-Leader on May 20, 2015

Representative Billy Long’s letter of May 16th regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule to protect clean water is a flood of misinformation. The proposed Clean Water Protection Rule is a joint effort by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect our water – the water that 1 in 3 Americans depend on for drinking. Normal farming and ranching practices do not require permits and will not under this rule. Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972 and the State of Missouri has been delegated the responsibility to approve and enforce regulations that protect water quality for a variety of uses including drinking, playing, and wildlife habitat. Over the past 40 years there has been confusion about how to implement these regulations. The proposed rule seeks to clear up these inconsistencies for the benefit of everyone.

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